Before it was a wallet, it was a windshield: words we didn’t think we’d ever say, but here we are. Today, it’s more important than ever to design and create products with environmental impact in mind. That’s why our newest line, the Ekster Recycled Collection, is made from recycled windshields.
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Traditionally, we’ve made our wallets with leather sourced from environmentally certified, gold-rated Leather Working Group tanneries. We also work with green factories to create products that last, and we use recycled paper for all our inserts. We know it’s not enough to counter the current linear model of economy that promotes a ‘take, make, dispose’ approach. And this edition is a shift for us, as we move towards a circular economy, which focuses on using, reusing, and recycling instead.
Every year, more than 14 million cars are scrapped in the U.S. alone. Two kilograms of viable recyclable material can be foraged from one windshield.
The windshields of these cars have an invisible layer of something called PVB (or polyvinyl butyral), which keeps the glass from shattering on impact. It makes recycling windshields more of a challenge, but PVB is super versatile, and its minimal carbon footprint makes it a far greener alternative to the more commonly-used and toxic PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The best way to remove PVB from windshields is to scrape it off the glass.
When you separate PVB from the glass of the windshield, you get a strong, biodegradable material that can be processed back into the cycle of use. "Repurposing that material is just one way in which we can reuse and innovate with what we have," said founder Rick Scharnigg.
It's a testament to the viability of sustainable practices that the 'leather' we processed from PVB resin is indistinguishable from real cowhide. This vegan leather is also water-resistant, keeping your wallet free of the stains that real leather often shows with long-term everyday use. You can rest easy knowing that it was ethically-sourced, and you'll be able to recycle it when you decide to move on to another wallet.
The material we've made this line with is also unbelievably scratch-resistant - we know, because we tried to tear through it with a knife. It’s durable, long-lasting, and it looks good; not real leather, but you wouldn't know if we didn't tell you. The Ekster Recycled Edition: another step towards a more sustainable way to create the wallets that you’ve come to love.
Here at Ekster, we're in the business of making your life easier. We started with upgrading the traditional leather wallet, making it easier to use and harder to lose. Now, we're taking on the rest of your essentials to make each day easier for you.